The Transnational Constitution of Europe’s Social Market Economies: A Question of Constitutional Imbalances?

Journal of Common Market Studies 57 (1):143-58 (2019)
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Throughout its history the European integration process has not undermined but rather strengthened the autonomy of Member States vis-à-vis wider societal interests in relation to political economy, labour markets and social provisions. Both the ‘golden age nation state’ of the 1960s as well as the considerable transformations of Member State political economies over the past decades, and especially after the euro-crisis, was to a considerable degree orchestrated through transnational, most notably European, arrangements. In both cases the primary objective has been to strengthened state capacities of public power and law against the encroachment of private interests into the state. In spite of this continuity considerable changes can however be observed in the substantial economic policies advanced due to the switch from a Keynesian to a monetarist economic paradigm. It is suggested that the debate on constitutional imbalances between the EU’s economic and social constitutions should be seen in this light.

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Poul F. Kjaer
Copenhagen Business School


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